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Beijing shuts dine-in services during holiday period in bid to stem outbreak

A vendor wearing a face mask at a park in Beijing (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)
A vendor wearing a face mask at a park in Beijing (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

Restaurants in Beijing have been ordered to close dine-in services over the May holidays as the Chinese capital grapples with a Covid-19 outbreak.

Authorities said that dining in restaurants has become an infection risk, citing virus transmissions between diners and staff.

Restaurants have been ordered to only provide takeout services from Sunday to Wednesday, during China’s Labour Day holidays.

Beijing began mass testing millions of residents earlier this week as it scrambled to stamp out a growing coronavirus outbreak.

A woman wearing a face mask flies a kite
A woman wearing a face mask flies a kite at a park in Beijing during the Labour Day holiday period in China (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

The political stakes are high as the ruling Communist Party prepares for a major congress this autumn at which President Xi Jinping is seeking a third five-year term to reassert his position as China’s unquestioned leader.

Beijing authorities reported 67 new infections on Saturday, taking the city’s total to nearly 300 since April 22.

Authorities have also ordered parks, scenic areas and entertainment venues to operate at half capacity during the holiday period.

Several communities in the city’s most populous Chaoyang district have been designated high-risk areas and will be subjected to mass testing on Sunday and Tuesday.

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